Pfeifer and Wittmann investigated how humans think when a space is silent.
McFarlane and colleagues have investigated, via an online survey, the sorts of sounds that alarms to wake people up can make and the repercussions of awakening to various sounds.
The cognitive science research is clear – using natural elements (for example, materials, sounds, light, plants, fresh air, and water) in interior spaces has positive consequences for how people think and behave. What scientists have learned about nature-based experiences can inform design that enhances wellbeing and cognitive performance and encourages worthwhile life experiences.
Perceptions and realities
Samermit and colleagues have determined that pairing disliked sounds (such as “nails scratching a chalkboard”) with videos presenting a more positive explanation for that sound (such as “someone playing a flute”) reduces the negative implications of hearing those sounds.
Astolfi and colleagues investigated the effects of classroom acoustics on the educational experiences of young people, age 6 to 7.
Christensen, Lindén, Nakamura, and Barkat determined that white noise can improve ability to hear other sounds and their work is published in Cell Reports.
Arnal and teammates probed what sorts of sounds alarm humans.
Relaxation, stress, and anxiety affected
Researchers from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, the University of Sussex, and University College London investigated how scents and sounds influence our perceptions of our bodies.